Data Warehousing: Still Delivering Operational and Financial Insights to Oil and Gas Companies, Regardless of Size

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Data warehousing doesn’t get the hype that big data analytics gets in the oil and gas industry these days. But oil and gas companies of all sizes are still using “old school” data warehouses because they are a proven, practical solution for giving users – i.e., information consumers – access to the data they need to make informed business decisions. And for users themselves, that is no small thing, as I learned on a recent engagement.

The client is a privately held natural gas producer founded two years ago with the acquisition of assets in a major U.S. resource play, and their story is not unique. Employees were experiencing many of the common data-access challenges we see across the industry.

Employees were sharing licenses of their economics and reserves software, and struggling to manage those shared licenses by sending emails asking for somebody to log out in order to free up a license for a waiting user. Further, many of their system-generated reports were slow to process and even slower to build. There were delays receiving the data they needed because of dependency on a single point of contact for extracting the data. They were spending a lot of time collecting and compiling data, limiting time for analysis. Users were understandably frustrated.

Our project team was engaged to develop a data warehouse for the key data sets required for the reporting and analysis needs of the organization. The priority data sets identified included financial, AFE, reservoir and production volumes.

During the project’s first phase, we presented it to a small group for user acceptance testing. The reaction we got was stunning. We saw joy . . . actual joy . . . on the users’ faces. They were thrilled with the prospect of simply being able to access the data they needed, when they needed it. One user was especially enthusiastic, saying data access through the warehouse would dramatically reduce the amount of time she spent creating custom reports in the source system – by as much as 10 hours a month for just her alone.

The operational benefits are just as impressive. The inclusion of a Lease Operating Statement in the Financial cube provides users with the ability to view and analyze financials across cost center, account code, and business associate for their ad hoc reporting needs. By enabling easier access to updated information about what expenses have been booked to a specific well, operations is able to accurately identify trends and react to changes in operating expenses in a timely manner. The AFE cube supports the analysis of the estimated cost of capital projects against field estimates and actual expenses incurred.

To make things even better, accessing that data through an Excel PivotTable or Spotfire for analysis means users can create reports and perform analysis using the tools with which they are already familiar.

As the data warehouse is rolled out to the organization as a whole and continues to be developed, the entire organization will find they have easier access to the information needed to drive better business decisions, spend less time compiling data and have more time to actually analyze the data, along with improved data quality.

Oh, the joy of data access! With greater operational and financial insights brought to you by that tried-and-true business intelligence solution, the data warehouse.